Effective management of the Oracle E-Business Suite setup is essential.
Whether implementing or extending applications, performing support or undertaking patching and upgrades, organisations must ensure work can be done efficiently, accurately and with minimum risk – whilst maximising on benefit to the business.
ConfigSnapshot has been developed by Rookery Software to help organisations meet these challenges.
Document using ConfigSnapshot
Traditionally organisations have had to manually document the setups of their E-Business Suite environments, a process requiring huge manual effort. In addition to the many weeks of effort required when implementing any module, the on-going requirement to keep the documentation up to date as an environment matures is a difficult one and in many cases the documentation becomes out of synch with the environment configurations, resulting in either significant manual rework of the documentation, decisions being made based on incorrect information or the documentation simply being ignored as it cannot be relied on.
As organisations implement further changes over time they also face the challenge of how to maintain the overall documentation of their environment alongside documenting specific changes that then must be transitioned through multiple environments. Including these changes in an overall environment document makes it difficult to ensure the changes can be isolated and consistently applied. Creating documentation for specific changes may simplify the management of the changes but usually means there is then no overall documentation for the environment, or significant duplication of effort.
ConfigSnapshot is able to automatically document your application setups, removing the need for this to be maintained manually. Not only does this eliminate the time it would usually take to do this task the resulting documents are far more accurate.
Compare using ConfigSnapshot
Even the simplest E-Business Suite implementation will consist of at least three environments (Development, Test and Production). Many organisations, however, will have many more environments than this basic set up. It is critical that all environments are kept in synch over time to ensure that changes are correctly and efficiently deployed. As the number of environments increases so does the complexity of managing them.
Being in synch does not mean that all environments are identical. Certain setups will reflect the specific environment they are associated with, some setup may yet to be deployed and some setups may have been created for specific test scenarios and not required in other environments. However, it is important to be able to quickly identify any differences that do exist between environments and ensure that they are expected.
ConfigSnapshot provides comprehensive comparison capabilities to help you understand where differences exist.
Analyse using ConfigSnapshot
Beyond simple documentation, ConfigSnapshot provides comprehensive and flexible analysis of setup data. Rather than providing a “one size fits all” reporting approach, ConfigSnapshot allows you to target the data you wish to report, based on the specific business requirement, and to format the output in the way that simplifies comprehension and use of the data.
For regular reporting requirements ConfigSnapshot provides several methods by which you can create predefined reports without the need for any coding. These reports can be run either on an ad-hoc basis or by scheduling them –individually or as part of a set.
General analysis capabilities include:
- Flexible filtering to focus on specific records, including complex conditional criteria
- Differentiation of seeded data from implementation specific data and the ability to include or exclude seeded data
- Differentiation of active and inactive data and the ability to include or exclude inactive data
- Ability to target data created or updated since a specific date or by specific users
- Ability to select exactly which data levels and fields are reported for any configuration step
Specific analysis reporting is also provided as standard within ConfigSnapshot including:
- Customisation identification – automatically report over 35 different types of customisation
- Customisation impact analysis – report database objects affected by major or minor upgrades referenced in customisation code; including providing an annotated version of the code highlighting where the objects have been used
- Patch impact analysis – identify all components affected by the application of one or more patches
Plan and Migrate using ConfigSnapshot
WIth is essential that changes to the E-Business Suite are controlled effectively but traditional methods, such as manually documenting all changes prior to applying them and then manually repeating the changes in multiple environments, are time consuming and prone to human error.
ConfigSnapshot allows organisations to streamline the process for planning new and changed configuration as well as simplifying deployment across many environments.
For simple setup changes it is not necessary to manually document the changes prior to making them to an initial environment. ConfigSnapshot enables you to capture the existing setup data prior to making the change and then, once the change has been completed, to automatically document the changes made, removing the need for duplication.
For more complex changes prior planning is essential to ensure the correct setup is configured in the applications. Traditionally this was achieved by manually preparing setup documents and then once they had been reviewed the setup manually entered into the environment itself.
Among the issues faced when planning using manual documentation are:
- It is difficult to review complex changes in a static document as setup can often span many pages and is not laid out in a format that makes analysis simple
- Even where the document is thought to be accurate, the setup must be manually entered into the target environment and there is no easy way to subsequently compare the entered setup against the manual planned document
Track using ConfigSnapshot
As well as understanding the current setups of your E-Business Suite environments there are requirements to be able to track changes to them over time. During projects there are many reasons that it is important to be able to understand the changes made during key stages of the work, including:
- Being able to identify all records created, updated or deleted so that changes can be accurately repeated
- Understanding the impact of change on an environment introduced by major updates such as patching or upgrades * Determining whether changes during a test cycle may have been made that have unknowingly introduced an issue
During on-going system management security settings should be tracked to ensure changes do not result in unauthorised access.
This requirement covers many areas, including:
- User, responsibility and role management
- Menu changes
- Profile option settings
- Request group and request set management
ConfigSnapshot provides comprehensive baseline capability that captures setup at a particular time; any baseline can cover a single setup step, a module’s entire setup or even multiple modules. Reporting can subsequently be carried out against the historic data and comparisons can be carried out between different baselines or between baselines and the live environment data.
Comply using ConfigSnapshot
ConfigSnapshot provides significant functionality to assist organisations with audit and control requirements, including: Security Setup Reporting
Security is a complex area within the E-Business Suite with many setups affecting what functions, programs and data users are able to access, including:
- Users, Responsibilities and Roles
- Report and Request Groups
- Profile Options
ConfigSnapshot provides flexible reporting to review all of these setup areas to enable system administrators to keep control over access controls.
Security Effects of Patching and Upgrades
As well as changes made to security setups during normal system management these areas can be directly affected when certain patches are applied or where the environment is upgraded. New forms, form functions and concurrent programs may be introduced and these will automatically become available to some users. It can be a significant challenge to identify what these new items are and an even greater challenge to understand the effect on security access.
ConfigSnapshot simplifies this by enabling you to compare the affected setup pre- and post-patch or upgrade, quickly identifying any new items introduced and also which users and responsibilities have inherited access to these items, allowing you to determine any additional access controls that should be defined.
Segregation of Duties Reporting
As well as considering access to individual forms, functions and concurrent programs many organisations must consider which combinations of access users should not be permitted; for example the ability to enter and post a General Ledger journal in the same ledger or set of books. Controlling segregation of duties is a requirement when complying with legislation such as Sarbanes Oxley but is also good practice in any organisation.
The standard E-Business Suite does not provide segregation of duties reporting and solutions can be complex and expensive to implement. ConfigSnapshot provides a simple and cost effective segregation of duties capability, including:
- Defining constraints for functions, concurrent programs, roles, responsibilities etc.
- Defining violation rules based on individual constraints or groups of constraints
- Classifying rules to enable specific types of violation rules to be run as well as full violation analysis
- Defining conditions, both globally and for specific rules, to target violations; for example, only reporting where a user can perform two segregated functions within the same operating unit
- Applying different conditions dependent on the E-Business Suite environment against which the violation analysis is carried; for example, to eliminate false positives that would exist on a development environment due to particular users having been given elevated access privileges to simplify the setup of the applications.
Audit Track Reporting
ConfigSnapshot provides a number of methods to report changes to setup over time. This includes the ability to capture and report full details of every change made to selected data areas; when it happened, what changed and who made the change.
- Automatically create setup documentation – flexible formats and content including BR100 style
- Migrate setup from one instance / entity to others- extract > transform / plan > load > compare
- Directly compare multiple environments, showing all fields or a summary of the differences
- Compare operating units, sets of books etc. within an environment and across environments
- Compare setup across different versions of the E-Business Suite when upgrading / reimplementing
- Identify and analyse customisations to determine impact during an upgrade / patching
- Patch impact analysis – prioritise testing on areas directly affect via patching
- Create date stamped copies of setup (baselines) enabling historic reporting and comparison over time
- Full audit change tracking
- Differentiate implementation and seeded data
- Segregation of Duties conflict reporting
- Present complex data in simple context-based reports simplifying system administration
- Multiple reporting formats including HTML, Word, Excel, XML as well as interactive screen-based
- Extend capabilities across any data area
Implementation using ConfigSnapshot
ConfigSnapshot can be used as an integral part of any implementation or re-implementation project and where an existing implementation is being extended by configuring additional features or to adapt to changing business requirements. Providing benefit from the early planning stages through to go live and beyond, example benefits include:
- Planning Configuration
- Documenting Configuration
- Deploying/Migrating Configuration
- Managing Change throughout the Project
- Managing Setup across Multiple Environments
- Planning Security
Rollouts using ConfigSnapshot
In addition to the benefits highlighted for implementation projects, ConfigSnapshot provides some further benefits when rolling out new entities (operating units, ledgers etc.) within the E-Business Suite. In many cases new entities are based on existing entities, with key differences for specific legislative or business reasons.
- Reviewing Existing Setups
- Planning New Entities
- Deploying Setup
Upgrade using ConfigSnapshot
During E-Business Suite upgrades there are particular challenges that organisations must overcome to ensure a successful upgrade project. ConfigSnapshot is able to assist organisations throughout the upgrade project including:
- Customisation Identification / Impact Analysis
- Understanding the Effects on Application Setups
- Understanding the Effects on Security
- Managing Multiple Iterations
Patching using ConfigSnapshot
Regular patching is an accepted part of system management for the E-Business Suite, whether this covers fixing issues or applying annual legislative patches for HR and Payroll. Whenever patches are applied the business must coordinated efforts to ensure sufficient testing is carried out prior to applying any patches to Production.
Two key challenges during patching are being able to target testing on areas where the patch has had an effect, either by changing or adding a component or by affecting data, and being able to accurately repeat all actions taken during the patching cycle on each subsequent environment where the patch is applied.
- Determine Components Affected
- Understanding the Effects on Application Setups
- Managing Multiple Iterations
Support using ConfigSnapshot
ConfigSnapshot’s capabilities are applicable to the entire lifecycle of the E-Business Suite and this includes day-to-day management of the system. Often this is an expensive operation for organisations; in many cases the cost of keeping the system running “as-is” is such that organisations do not have sufficient budget to devote resources to improving the business benefits delivered by the system. ConfigSnapshot can help support teams manage the system more cost effectively, either helping reduce costs or enable organisations to spend more of their allocated budget in improving the benefits to the business.
- Fixing Issues
- Monitoring Setups
- System Administration
ConfigSnapshot product Overview
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